16 Apr 2018 Lvl. 2
State replied
Alert created on: 25 Sep 2017 Serbia

Serbian Weekly ‘Vranjske Novine’ Closed Following Administrative Harassment

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ Index RSF
Serbian weekly Vranjske novine will cease publishing, announced founder and editor-in-chief Vukasin Obradovic on 18 September. The paper claims it has been subject to intense political and economic pressures, including financial inspections allegedly aimed at compromising its finances.

According to the Independent Journalists’ Association (NUNS), Vranjske novine has been subjected to political and economic pressure since its creation in 1994, as the weekly is known for revealing abuse of public office, such as corruption and organised crime. Obradovic, his family and his colleagues experienced multiple non-investigated instances of harassment and persecution, ranging from repeated direct threats, car tampering, offices robbed, to inspections and controls leading to the economic suffocation of the newspaper, peaking this year.

A recent attempt to inspect Vranjske beginning on 16 August 2017, was followed by an unexpected financial inspection on 4 September. NUNS states that although the inspections are legitimate, the question is whether they were prompted by the publication of an interview with a former Vranje Tax Authority head. Soon after the publication, Obradovic was warned off the record, to expect an inspection with the intention of harassing the newspaper. He wrote in an open letter to the tax administration authority published on 21 September, that Vranjske has been operating in accordance with the law since its creation.

Vukasin Obradovic received many awards for his investigative work. In 2009, he was awarded OSCE media personality of the year. He was also President of NUNS, between 2010 and February 2017.
State replies
16 Apr 2018
Reply from the Ministry of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia
Follow-ups
23 Feb 2018
Commissioner for Human Rights: ‘Concerted efforts needed to protect media freedoms in Serbia’
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